Thomas Erdelyi, better known to punk fans worldwide as Tommy Ramone, passed away on Friday at 65. The last surviving original member of the Ramones, his lightspeed drumming was influential in propelling the band’s raucous, signature sound. The trio of records he made with “siblings” Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny — Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia — are the founding documents of punk rock, proof that powerful, enduring music could be made from sweat, chaos and an almost supernatural knack for melody. “We used the wall of sound as a melodic rather than a riff form,” he told Rolling Stone in 1979. “It was like a song within a song, created by blocks of chords…The hypnotic effect of strict repetition, the effect of lyrics that repeat and vocals that dart out at you and the percussive effect of driving the music like a sonic machine. You can put headphones on and swim with it. It’s not background music.”
His passing was mourned by friends, followers and fellow musicians.
Chris Stein remembers Tommy Ramone: "He was a lovely gentle guy, super smart. The last of the original Ramones." RIP, Tommy.
— Debbie Harry/BLONDIE (@BlondieOfficial) July 12, 2014
Just found out that Tommy Ramone died today. One of the most ground breaking drummers and producers ever. And always nice. #PunkPartyLegend
— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) July 12, 2014
Tommy Ramone was one of the most influential drummers of the rock 'n' roll era. He was one of my biggest heroes. https://t.co/yrEjIKglIy
— Jon Wurster (@jonwurster) July 12, 2014
Thank you for the music Tommy Ramone
— AUGUSTINES (@WeAreAugustines) July 12, 2014
RIP Tommy Ramone. All together now…….#TheRamonesForever
— Garbage (@garbage) July 12, 2014
— Paul Williams (@IMPaulWilliams) July 12, 2014